Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A ride to remember

The ride home from Mexico was a bit of a doozy. It all started out with me being sick, which caused us to decide on coming home a day early.


We went to the store to replace some of the items we had used in the house, and I decided to pick up some alka-seltzer to help with my nose and cough for the drive up.


All seemed to be going well. We cleaned and locked up the house and began the drive north. About 15 minutes in though something began to go wrong. My chest and back began to ache. It was an ache I had experienced before, and I quickly asked DaNece to read through the ingredients of the alka seltzer. Eventually she got to Aspirin. Uh oh. Figuring that I had taken this stuff before without adverse effect I hadn't looked at the ingredients before consumption. Stupid, stupid me.


The thing is, I'm allergic to aspirin. Like, pretty bad.

Apparently sometime this year the company decided to change their formula, and switched a key ingredient. Acetaminophen was changed to aspirin. As soon as she said it, I knew I was in for a very interesting ride home. I pulled over and DaNece took over the captain's chair.


Soon I was in full-blown allergic reaction state.

- Chest pain. Bad enough to make me cry like a baby.

- Severe asthma attack, resulting in difficulty breathing.

- Facial numbness

- A seemingly endless amount of saliva buildup

- Throat swelling which makes swallowing difficult


There is a bright shining spot in all of this though. And that is the entertainment that was provided to DaNece after she stopped worrying if I was going to die. Imagine having to spit out the window every couple seconds.... but your lips are numb.

Gross? Yep.

Funny? She sure thought so.


All of these symptoms stayed severe through the hour-long drive to Sonyata, and through the two hours we spent waiting to get across the border. Finally, by the time we got to Gila Bend everything was starting to ebb to the point where I could eat something.


About 5 hours after the start of the whole menagerie the only thing left was a little bit of chest pain, a great lesson to read the label on everything, and a ride home that we will remember for a very long time.

My friend Daryn

My friend Daryn made his annual holiday pilgrimage to Prescott, and I had the pleasure of getting to spend some time with him (he is a surprisingly busy guy while on vacation). Him and Becky (his lovely other half) came out to our house for dinner (a big mexican spread) the night before we left for Mexico.


We also managed to fit in a long lunch at Rooster's Cafe, a dinner at Thai House Cafe (a yearly tradition) and some coffee at the Wild Iris Cafe:


When Daryn is around conversations are always fierce, full of speculation, and wildly random.

This time around conversation topics included

- the moral implications of genocide

- stopping busy life to enjoy all the small things around you (including an awesome garage band practicing in an upstairs apartment with the window open)

- the creation and execution of fantasies

- the correlation between manliness and the ability to eat spicy food

- the source of addiction

- the proper time to drink coffee

- animal cruelty

- the possibility of attaining happiness


Thanks for some great food for thought Daryn, and hope you guys had a safe flight home!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Ummm... AWESOME!


Mexico pictures

Okay, so all told there were a whopping 8 usable pictures on my camera from Mexico. Talk about a let down! The only time I busted out the camera was when we went to the beach, and even then it was only for about five minutes before I decided to take a dip into the cold ass water.


So here they are, in all their glory.


A flock of birds flying by. I desperately tried to get the camera on and pointed/exposed as they flew by and only got two shots before they were gone:


Choppy Seas:


DaNece, informing just how cold the wet sand is, shoes and sea-shell collecting bag in hand:


The Sandy Beach Resorts, which are multiplying down the coastline:


A fishing vessel of some type that was surprisingly close to shore:


DaNece, with dog in tow, walking down the beach:


A final remembrance of the beach:


Flickr Set

Shaggy Christmas - Week 11, and the home stretch

Project codename: Shaggy Christmas has drawn to a close. After 11 weeks of waking up and having to consciously  NOT shave, I have gone from a mere boy to the awesomely manly dude you see here.


I have attained a near-lumberjack level of ruggedness. And I shit-you-not, a tree trembled when I walked by it not even a week ago!


Okay, so it is a fairly mid-grade attempt at a beard, with its fair share of bald spots, and wily curls. But by god it was my mid-grade attempt, and I was proud of it for the eleven weeks that it graced my face.


Before we left for Mexico I decided to go ahead and shave the cheeks off, as they would sometimes annoy me while sleeping. I'm thinking I will keep the goatee action going on for another month or two before returning to my bare-faced visage.


No real pictures of the goat yet, but here is one that we snapped on the beach in Mexico of us:


11(ish) weeks in pictures.

Note to self

When you have a little, old, cute, Thai waitress,


And she tells you that something isn't that spicy.




Every part of your body will thank you if you keep this in mind next time you go out for thai food.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Back and alive

Back from vacation. Mexico was great.


- We cooked all but two of the meals we ate.

- I swam in the ocean (it was cold!)

- DaNece gathered a huge amount of sea shells

- the dogs got to run on the beach for the first time in their lives

- I burned my throat eating jalepenos

- I came down with the flu on christmas day, not so fun

- We came home a day earlier than expected due to me feeling cruddy

- Accidentally ingested some aspirin, which I'm pretty allergic to. You know, just to create some excitement.

- Spent two hours waiting to go through the border

- Slept half of the way home in the cargo area with the dogs



Now I have to catch up on all the notes sitting on my desk at work, go through the 500+ blog entries that have been written in the past week, and try to download what few pictures I took. :)


Hope everybody had a great christmas!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Vacation, here we come

Me and DaNece will be spending most of next week in Mexico. The blog will probably be quiet, as I'm not sure if we are taking a computer with us or not.


Have a great christmas everybody!

Personal Achievement

For the first time in my life, I ran a mile in under 10 minutes. It's kind of a big deal for me. :)


It's that time of the year for soup. The cold temps make a warm bowl of soupy goodness just right, so when I saw this recipe I got an idea.


I liked idea of baking the potatoes to help cut down on cooking time, but I wanted something a little cheesier, so here is what we came up with:

Potato/Leek/Chedder soup:

- 8-10 medium sized idaho potatoes

- 1 leek

- 2 carrots

- 3-4 cups chedder or colby/jack cheese

- garlic (we used fresh and roasted)

- 2 cans of vegetable stock

- 1/2 cup of 1/2&1/2

- 1/2 cup of milk

- splash of olive oil

- various spices


1. Poke holes into potatoes with fork and bake however you please. We did them in the microwave to cut down on cooking time (2 batches at 15 minutes each)


2. While potatoes are cooking put a big pot on the stove with some olive oil (or butter!), and add the leeks and carrots. Cook on medium or medium-high  for 15 minutes or so.


3. When potatoes are done cooking add minced fresh garlic to leek/carrot, and allow to cook while you peel the skin off the spuds (you can leave on, but I didn't want the skin to muck with the consistency of the finished soup). I don't really have a good way to do this, so I just peeled them while they were hot.


4. cut potatoes up a bit and throw in the pot along with both cans of stock. Allow to cook for 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are super soft and starting to fall apart. By now the carrots and leaks should also be pretty soft.


5. Toss in your roasted garlic, remove from heat and blend. Thankfully we have an immersion blender which makes this easy, but if you don't, just work in batches in a regular blender. Taste and season as desired. I added ground pepper, fennel seed, thyme, cayenne, and salt.


6. put over medium heat and stir in half&half and milk until you get a consistency that you like. It should be slightly thinner than your end soup, because the cheese is going to thicken it up a bit.


7. Now add the cheese, reserving a little bit for garnish. Continue to heat the soup until it is bubbling and the cheese is all melted. Make sure to stir it, as the cheese has a habit of settling at the bottom and then burning.


8. At this point you should be ready to serve. If the soup is too thin just continue cooking without a lid until it reduces down a bit. If it is too thick then add a splash of water or more milk.



All in all it only took us about an hour to throw this together. At the end I remembered that we had some left-over ham so we diced that and threw it in too.

The spread of graffiti

It's interesting to see where graffiti pops up. As you meander around town you see the same people's tags in many different spots. Most of the time these are just scrawls of '602' or 'SPL', or some other bit of randomness that makes sense only to the person doing the spraying, but lately I have been seeing some love around town.


First it was this in the hills behind Dexter elementary school:



And now this artist has cropped up in the Granite Creek, behind Granite street:


I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more.

Pic of the day

Prayer flags above a downtown business doorway:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A simple dessert

Take some sliced pears and add a touch of sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Saute them for a few minutes until soft, throw over pound cake, and top with some whipped cream.


Simple and tasty:


I wish I had talent. These guys are 15:

'The AudioPhiles'



Pic of the day

Another hdr shot of mystery car on Marina street:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pic of the day

Driving along one day, and when I looked in the mirror everything just seemed to  line up:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pic of the day

A ferris wheel was setup on cortez street for a children's fair:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shredded Pork tacos

How could we not?


A perfect meal for a gray winter day. We put a pork loin in the slow cooker with a few cans of ro*tel, a solid splash of orange juice, and some water for 10 hours. We came home to some awesome smells.


Then we used the juices from the slow cooker to make a sauce. DaNece got to make her first roux, and we got an awesome topping for the tacos:


I was feeling a little daring, so I decided to roast a poblano pepper, then blend it with some sour cream, a dash of garlic powder, and a few dashes of cumin:


Mix all of this together on a tortilla with a bit of cheese, and you have yourself one awesome meal:


The pork was super flavorful, and fell apart when we tried to pull it out of the slow cooker. DaNece's sauce was kicking some serious arse. The poblano mixture added a killer flavor and smell to the whole thing.


We'll be making this one agian.

It's official

we have our first snow of the season! Sweet.

Pic of the day

An electrified wood fence... ummm WTF?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Magnum Sized

A little time waster for friday afternoon.



Pic of the day

I saw a big hill at one end of town and decided to scramble up it on my lunch hour. At the top was something odd. A building with concrete walls, no windows, a few vents, and it was surrounded by razor wire. Oh yeah, and it only stood about 2 feet out of the ground (I'm assuming that it delved deeper into the hill).


If I were to take a guess I would say that it is related to water distribution, but that is a shot in the dark. Anywho, the sun was shining right where I wanted to take the shot, so I decided to include it in a 3 exposure HDR:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pic of the day

Unknown make/model car:


3 exposure handheld HDR

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another journal entry

*Yeah, I journal about cooking*


Cooking again. Allowing the kitchen to take me over. I become a ghost within it. A whisper within the cacophony of sizzle and spice. I listen, but do not speak. The food does all of the talking, and it does so in a language that I barely speak. I catch a word here and a phrase there. I try to piece together the conversation, but it often eludes me.

When does the sizzle become a scream for help? Where is the border between perfectly caramelized and irreparably burned? Where lies the boundary of a meal that teases and excites the taste buds before it falls into a meal that passes without notice? When does fork tender turn into mush? These are the questions that the food is trying to answer for me, if only I could understand.

If only I could decipher the slang, then I think that this would all click into place, and a master of the kitchen I would become. Perhaps it is simply a matter of spending more time with the locals. Perhaps all that is required is an inquisitive mind and a supreme amount of patience.

If that is the case then I worry that I will never become that master, as I seem to so rarely have the time to dedicate to learning this language. That I will forever be the cook who speaks broken English.

Pic of the day

A test shot of DaNece using her new flash on the G9:

I'm a movie fiend

It's true.

How many Movies can you name in two minutes?

Find Movies at LocateTV

Of course, this got me to thinking about how many movies I have seen, that 35 came to mind so quickly? For this info I went to netflix, to see how many movies I have rated (yeah, I actually do that).


That's when I realized that I have a problem. Because I'm 24, and I've rated 1176 movies....

So even if I was a professional movie-watcher (they have those, right?), putting in 8 hours a day of nothing but movie watching, it would take 220.5 days to watch all these flicks. If I went on a non-stop-movie bender 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it would take 73.5 days...


Hi, my name is Tom and I'm a movie addict.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Random Vacation photos

Some that didn't make it into any of the posts:


Dad and Suzy are stockpiling gold and silver for when the U.S. dollar goes the way of Zimbawbwe dollar. I got to find out what a pain in the arse it is to photograph coins in low-light:


There were other critters around than Sam the puppy. There was a tarantula as I walked down the road:


There was a big chocolate lab whom I love dearly. He spends most of his days doing nothing more than this:


And one of the few cats that I like, Buddy:


There were also some horses which managed to sneak up to grab a peak at me while I grabbed a pic of them:


It wouldn't be a trip to 'Bubba' country without a nascar shot. Since I didn't attend a race, this tire that was discarded in the woods will have to do:


A backlit bit of fluff:


Some interstate barriers as seen from above:


And a big-ass tree in dad's back yard:


The full flickr set.

Project Shaggy Christmas, week 8....ish

So the whole weekly update thing isn't exactly working out... I think I'm somewhere between 8 and 9 weeks into project Shaggy Christmas:


And technically these pictures were just test shots while I was playing with DaNece's new flash and the G9 in a mirror (the flash is as big as the cam, it's kind of funny).


Itchiness: 1 whisker - itchiness is still low. I think I totally lucked out on the itchy front. I believe Mike is having a rougher time of it.


Food trapping: 7 whiskers - I tried eating ice cream. I looked like a rabid dog when I was done.


Noticability: 6 whiskers - blond hair still doesn't stand out, but I have been called a mountain man by at least three co-workers in the last 2 weeks.


Awesomeness: 5 whiskers - not a huge improvement from last post, but the mountain-man comments eeked out an improvement. Of course a coworker told me I looked like I had cancer when she saw this pic, so maybe the awesomeness aint all it's cracked up to be:

A railway story


While I was in Oklahoma there was a bit of a problem. Dad and Suzy have this habit of taking naps in the middle of the day... a habit which I have not yet formed. So one day while they snoozed I decided to go for a walk. A few miles from their house is a railroad, so I meandered my way over there and walked along the tracks for a bit.


Of course I played in the little creeks that it crossed over:



And found all sorts of things I have never seen before. Like a mechanical switchman, which decides which track the train rides on:


As I was putzing around, and seemingly out of nowhere, a train decided to go about its business of riding the rails. I always thought people who got hit by trains must be pretty stupid, because trains are loud, right? Well this train was stealthy like ninja. So it about scared the crap out of me:


This was a cargo train, that took it's everlovin' time to go by. About a full 15 minutes. All I could do was watch the tracks flex up and down as the cars whizzed by on their way to some distant supply station:


Eventually the tail end of the train came into view and I could make my way back home to the now-awake folks.

Pic of the day

Autumn colors:

Not sure I like the processing on this HDR, but alas; it was the best of the three. :)